In case the Arizona Department of Agriculture approves Senate Bill 1337, state farmers will be allowed to receive licenses for legally growing, distributing, and selling industrial hemp. The bill was passed by the Arizona House on May 10.
Unlike marijuana plants that contain high levels of THC, industrial hemp is almost free of this psychoactive chemical compound, and its plants are often used for manufacturing cosmetic products, fibers, and oils.
According to Senator Sonny Borrelli, who sponsored the bill, the legalization of industrial hemp will put cash into the pockets of farmers and boost the state economy. However, if someone expects to get high from smoking hemp, they will be deeply disappointed.
The bill has already been adopted by the Arizona House, but it is the Department of Agriculture that will be responsible for licensing the state farmers.
The bill was passed with one amendment from Representative Brenda Barton. She is sure that the Department cannot license farmers until industrial hemp is permitted at the federal level.
However, the 2014 Farm Bill (federal law) has already authorized universities and departments of agriculture to cultivate industrial hemp for scientific or commercial purposes.
The production of hemp for industrial purposes has already been legalized in sixteen American states, while twenty states grow hemp for research and pilot programs. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the laws in some states meet the requirement of the federal legislation, while some of the laws in other states apply only in the case of changes in federal laws.
Although the Pima County Attorney’s Office was initially against SB 1337, it was accepted after compliance with testing and regulatory requirements. In order to control the process of growing of industrial hemp, safeguards are authorized to check if there are no marijuana plants in the hemp fields.
The bill is still waiting for the approval of the amendment by the Senate and the signature of Governor Ducey before it becomes a law.